Preventing Breakage During Your Transition

Detangling Natural Hair Here are some tips I can share to help you keep breakage to a minimum…

1.  Keep Your Hair Moisturized From Root to Tip

When I first started transitioning (months 2-4), I was trying every moisturizer under the sun.

I quickly found that too much product was actually drying my hair out and causing it to break.  Plus I never knew what was working since I had so many different products on my strands.

I learned to use one or two moisturizers throughout the week.  If I did a rod set, I’d use Jane Carter’s Nourish and Shine to moisturize my curls upon removing the rollers.

Then I’d use pure castor oil every other day until wash day.  Castor oil is very thick, but it’s a great sealant (locks in moisture).  My natural hair really seems to love this stuff.

I typically use a quarter size amount, rub it into my palms and gently pat it into my hair so I don’t disturb my style (especially if I’m wearing a curly do.)

Need a good moisturizer?  Try Shea Moisture products.  You can get them at Target, Walgreens or online.

Learn how to properly moisturize your transitioning hair.

2. Detangle on Wash Day Only

The longer you transition, the more fragile your relaxed hair will become.  Also, natural hair can be very dry and difficult to comb dry (especially if your hair is long.)  So you want to manipulate your hair as little as possible.

I wear a lot of rod sets and flat twist styles during my transition so there’s no need for combing.  I simply pick my curls out with my fingers every morning and I’m ready to go.

I find it easier to detangle my hair when it’s conditioned and wet.  This also helps prevent breakage.

Click here to watch a video of how I wash and detangle my hair.

3. Deep Condition Weekly

I know you’re busy and it takes extra time to sit under the dryer but conditioning through the transition is a must.  Not only does it help cut down on breakage of your processed hair, but it gets your natural hair in tip-top shape.

My favorite transitioning deep conditioner product was Organics Olive Oil Root Stimulator. I apply to my hair immediately after shampooing, put on a plastic cap and sit under the dryer for 15-30 minutes.  Sometimes I’d leave it in an extra 30 minutes without the dryer.  Then I rinse and style.

ponytails cause breakage 4. Limit Ponytails

Ponytails are tempting because your hair is more difficult to manage.  It’s easy to throw it through a rubber band and call it a day!

You must resist the temptation!

Wearing a ponytail too often is not even good for people who aren’t transitioning.  But they’re even worse on your hair if you are.

Remember, your hair is already weak because of the demarcation line (the place where your natural and processed hair meet).

Any type of hairstyle that pulls and causes extra stress on your hair and scalp is never good.

If you must pull your hair back, use clips and bobby pins instead of rubber bands.  Also, don’t be fooled by the ones that say they are gentle on your hair.  If you wear them everyday, they will damage your hair.

Here’s a quick tip!  You can release tension on your hair when wearing ponytails by flat-twisting your hair on the sides and using a gel band to secure the rest of the hair instead of a rubber band.  Gel bands aren’t as tight.

Check out the video below for a demonstration.

This is also a great option if your hair is too short to go into a ponytail.

5.  Wear a Satin Bonnet or Use a Satin Pillow Case

You probably don’t realize how much your head rubs against your pillow at night.  All that rubbing tears at your hair and can cause breakage.  It’s important to protect your hair with a satin covering.

I typically wear satin bonnets, but many people also prefer a satin pillow case.  Satin coverings also help to protect hair styles you want to keep for an extended period of time (spiral curls, roller sets, etc.)

6. Cut Out The Heat!

This is so important.  It’s tempting to continue blow drying and flat ironing your hair to help you cope with the transition, but that is only causing damage to your natural hair that you are trying to grow out.

Remember, that hair that is at your roots will one day be your ends and if they are fried, dried and damaged, your hair won’t look healthy and it will eventually split and break.

While you’re transitioning, it’s important to wear protective heat-less styles like pin-ups, roller sets, twists, twist outs, braid outs and more.  Watch my video on a two strand twist out.

7.  Lather Once Per Wash

Shampooing more than once will strip the hair of its natural oils and moisture.  If you rinse your hair long enough before washing, you should only have to lather up once.  Also use sulfate-free shampoos like Giovanni and Kinky Curly.  Sulfates create lather but strip the hair of its natural oils our hair desperately needs.

Even though the two products mentioned above are sulfate free, you’ll get plenty of lather with one shampoo.

8. Pre-poo Regularly

Pre-pooing is the process of moisturizing your hair before you shampoo. It minimizes breakage by helping your hair retain some moisture when you shampoo.  Plus it helps strengthen the hair and starts the detangling process.

My favorite pre-poo concoction is a cheap conditioner (the rinse-out kind like Suave Naturals, V05 or Herbal Essence) and olive oil.

I section my hair in 4’s and apply the pre-poo to each section from root to tip and wear a plastic cap.  After an hour, I gently run my fingers through my hair to begin detangling and remove any shed hairs.  Then I shampoo normally.

Tip:  I recently learned that coconut oil is one of the best oils to use for pre-pooing because it penetrates well and prevents protein breakdown.  Click here to learn more.

9. Trim Often!

This is especially important if you are a long-term transitioner and/or your hair is already damaged when starting the transition.  I fit both of those categories so I did mini trims as often as twice a month in some cases.

It really paid off.  Yes, that meant my hair stayed roughly the same length for months (I trimmed anywhere between a quarter of an inch to 3/4ths of an inch per month), BUT it kept my hair from breaking as much during the transition.

If you’ve ever observed the hair of a long-term transitioner, you may have noticed how their relaxed ends hang noticeably from the natural hair.  This is because the relaxed ends will continue to weaken and eventually break off as you get further into your transition.

But because I trimmed so often, I didn’t really have this issue.  By the time I got to the 12th month of my transition, it was hard to see my line of demarcation.  Many people thought I had completely transitioned, but I still had a few inches of processed hair left.

Plus I was texturizing prior to my transition so my hair wasn’t completely straight.  That also helped.

If your hair is fairly healthy, there’s no need to trim as often as I did.  Trimming about a half an inch every 3 to 4 months should be enough.  You’ll have to assess what’s best for your hair.

10. Give Your Hair a Protein Treatment

Protein treatments can help strengthen both your natural and relaxed hair.   The mixture I use is easy to make and you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen.

It uses eggs, mayonnaise, honey and olive oil.  I do this every 4-6 weeks.  (If your hair is protein sensitive, you may need to do this less often.)  Remember, too much protein in your hair is not good, so I wouldn’t do this any more often that once a month.  And if your hair is protein sensitive you might have to treat it even less often.

Here’s the recipe:

1 egg

2-3 tbsp of whole mayo (not light or miracle whip)

2 tsp honey

1 tsp olive oil (or oil of choice)

I put all ingredients into my mixer until it has a light, whipped consistency.  Then I use an applicator bottle (bought @ Sally’s) to distribute through my hair.  I place a plastic cap on my head and let it sit for 1-3 hours.  Then I shampoo and condition as normal.

Every time I use this treatment, my shedding/breakage is cut down tremendously.  Remember, while you’re transitioning you will have some breakage.  There’s really no way around this because your relaxed strands are getting weaker.  Protein treatments will help strengthen your hair.

11) Wear Protective Styles

The less you have to manipulate your hair, the better.   Wear your hair in two-strand twists and twist outs, rod sets, loose buns, and extensions (not too tight).  The rod set was my go-to style during my transition.  It would last 6-8 days.

12) Treat Your Hair With a Hot Oil Treatment

This is one of the easiest ways to minimize any breakage problems you may be having and it will soften your hair.  It’s especially effective during colder months because your hair will dry out faster.  Read this article for some hot oil application tips.

13) Buy a Transitioning Kit

Many companies are now coming out with more products to help transitioners. Their focus is to help you minimize breakage by hydrating the hair.

Here are a few with good reviews on Amazon.


  1. Newbie@Natural says

    I have only been natural for 6-7 since my last perm and I want to go natural but i don’t know how to start. I don’t use much heat (only when i would go to the shop.). But i want to transition without my hair becoming awkward and i want to be able to style it considering I am a college student so i kind of have to look presentable and i’m afraid i wont be able to make it look nice. I use olive oil products such as their oil and spray. But i don’t know what kind of regime i should go on. Any advice?

  2. Dee says

    Hi Lisa,
    I want to know what would happen if I don’t put anything on my hair everyday while going natural. I’m wearing it in a braid out. I never cut my hair. It’s very thick and bushy. I’m tired of getting it pressed.

  3. Feliesha says

    I really like your blog you give a lot of good tips and info compared to others. What are some affordable moisture products for transitioning hair that I could find at CVS or Target for a reasonable price?

  4. chocchick13 says

    This is very helpful, as I am entering into month 5 of my transition and I’m experiencing a lot of breakage. I am currently using the Shea Moisture leave in conditioner, as well as hot oil treatments. I do have a question, when you trimmed your hair, how did you do it, in sections or just straight across? I’m very unfamiliar with trimming my own hair (I usually would go to the salon) but I’d like to learn how to do it myself. Thanks so much!!

  5. says

    I’ve been transitioning for about 4 months now & I just wanted to know if Its natural for my hair to quickly soak up moisture & become dry?

    • chocchick13 says

      Girl Yes! I’m still trying to find products that keep my hair feeling moisturized and soft. Natural hair craves and needs moisture.

  6. Tasha says

    I have had my hair pressed, relaxed and flat ironed regularly the past 35 years and I am trying to transition away from relaxers. My hair seems to grow quickly (1/2 inch of new growth in about 3 weeks). I am guessing that I can’t/don’t maintain length because I touched up my relaxer every 3-4 weeks and keep the ends trimmed from it becoming dry. It’s has now been about 6 weeks since my last relaxer and I have been utilizing wash and roller sets the past 3 weeks. My hair is fairly thick and my length is at my collar so I am under the hair drier for almost 1.5 hours for my hair to dry. I have heard great things about the Shea Moisture line (my “natural” daughter uses and loves it!). I work out a lot and want to maintain my curls from my weekly set, keep some sheen and softness to my hair. I would like to start by using the Shea Moisture line but hope that you have advise on what products I should use from that line and at what stage for a regular regime to get started.

  7. Megan says

    Hi, I just started the transitioning thing, not really sure what to do with my hair, i haven’t had a perm for four months. but I use a sow in weave that I’m going to take out soon, i was wondering if braids were fine to use or long twist…

  8. NINAJONES says


  9. says

    Thought your advice was very helpfull particulary the protein treatment so many thanks for that. I have had uite abit of success with using Argan Oil on my hair. Wonder if many other readers have come accross this as a hair treatment.

  10. Jayme says

    I just decided to transition from relaxed hair to natural hair about a month ago.I have medium length hair but my ends are very damaged,it use to be very long but the ends were so frail that I cut it almost six months ago.I researched some organic hair products and settled with Burt’s Bees products because they are sulfate free and bought some Doo Gro oil to use daily and to use for hot oil treatments.I am trying to avoid putting heat in my hair so I put some water in it,put some Motions mousse in it and oil,and braided to to the back.It came out crinkly andsomewhat tangles easily but I like the style but the mousse has dried out my hair.I am not trying to use alot of different products either.I was wondering what products do you use to rod your hair?Also,my scalp is very sore and I have dandruff.What can I do?

  11. Tia says

    Last year october I did a big chop literally cutting everything off. As I started to see some growth I thought it would be fine while it was still short to use a texturizer for the wet look. Now I’m experiencing so much breakage. But I only notice it when its wet or there’s product in it. When my hair is dry it’s soft to the touch and theres never any loose strands on my hand but when its wet my hand is covered in hair. Could it be that my hair is too soft? or over mosturized???

    keep in mind I’ve cut my hair numerous times and in the early stages of regrowing I’ve used a texturizer and never had this problem. It was also before i started a natural journey and didn’t care about what i was putting into my hair. Now that I’m more conscious I cant seem to get it right.

    just for further information I wash my hair once a week one lather I’m done
    everyday I’ll rinse apply jane carters replenish and repair conditioner then follow with my mixture of oils (jamaican black castor oil, jojoba oil and tea tree oil) and its too short too style so I don’t think I’m over manipulating it then at night i cover with a satin bonnet.

    is there something I’m not doing or doing too much of OR is it this time around I had a bad experience with a texturizer. should i cut my ends little by little ??? im so stuck and confused HELP ME LADIES

    • lisa says

      Your hair is always going to be more delicate when wet. Are these broken hairs or shedding? Because that makes a difference. If it’s broken you may have too much product build up or it’s just the result of the texturized ends. Try clarifying your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove all excess product. The texturized hair is probably just weak. It’s normal for that hair to start to break off when transitioning. Mine was the same way.

  12. Lynette says

    Hi Lisa!
    I love your blog on wearing protective styles! I have been all naptural for almost 3 years now. My hair is thick and very tightly coiled so I have a hard time finding cute protective styles. The problem that I have is a lot of shrinkage after washing and conditioning my hair and allowing it to air dry. I tend to wear it in a headband pulled back puff, or finger coils. I do have a decent amount of length if I stretch it out with a blow dryer; however I really don’t want to put any heat on my hair, and it’s not long enough to wear the cute styles that I see you rocking. I plan to try your two strand twist method on dry hair to stretch it out for more length and see what happens. Wish me luck!

  13. khari says

    Okay i recently started to go natural in october 2012. I’ve been moisturizing my hair with african shea butter.i deep condition once a week and also wash my hair once a week. my only problem is that my mother doesn’t believe in me going natural. since I’m only 15 and still live under her roof i have to do what she says. so what srd some good eays to convence her to let me go natural??? I’m almost three months and I’m trying really hard, also my hair is breaking off badly! Since i can’t trim my own hair what are some styles??? What are rod sets, twists outs and braid outs? Some helpful products to use on my hair would also b helpful, thank you!

  14. Holly says

    Hi Lisa!

    Next month will be a full year since my transtion and I’ve been doing my best not to use heat. Is it ok to use a hooded dryer on my hair when I do rod sets? I find that the curls form better under the dryer but I don’t want to risk hair damage. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


      • Holly says

        Thanks Lisa!

        It’s certainly been a great hair journey so far and I’m glad I decided to forego relaxers. I’m at a point now where I don’t even miss relaxers and can’t wait to fully rock my natural hair.. Hats off to all of the lovely ladies out there who are on their personal hair transitions as well…

      • Mazahra says

        Hey, my name is Mazahra. I live in the Caribbean and I’ve just started transitioning like a month now but i wanted to know what should i use instead of a blow dryer or flat iron after I wash my hair and do the treatments?…As of right now I have a lot of breakage and I started to consider doing the “big chop” but you video on the rod set stopped me because I did not know what to do with my hair for going to work and other things so thanks. So any advice on cutting out heat will be so helpful and also what are your thoughts on dying hair during the transitioning process

        • lisa says

          I would stay away from dye or any chemical during the transition process. Your relaxed hair is already going to weaken so you don’t need to add anything that could make it dryer. Wait until you are all natural and your hair is stronger overall. That’s my opinion.

          You can also try bantu knot outs, pin up hair styles, twist outs. Check out youtube for tons of different videos for these styles as well. YouTube really gave me a lot of inspiration for styling when transitioning.

  15. Rayna says

    Hey Lisa! I have another question. I am still early in the transition process. It’s been about thirteen weeks since my last touch up and it is now time to have my split ends trimmed. My relaxed hair was very healthy. In looking for a new stylist to trim the hair, I noticed that even natural hair salons blow out the air in order to trim it, so I figure I may as well go to my usual stylist and explain my situation and let them style it. Do you have any recommendations as to a safe(r) way to get a trim? I noticed that you got trims more frequently so probably have a few ideas.

    • lisa says

      Hi Rayna,

      Not sure what you mean by safer? Trimming is trimming whether you are natural or relaxed. So that part shouldn’t really change during your transition. The goal should be to cut off any split, broken or frayed ends. I always trimmed my hair myself. I bought some hair cutting scissors from Sallys and just eye-balled it or put my hair in medium twists and trimmed the same amount from each twist. I’m not a hair salon girl. I’d rather do it myself. LOL

  16. Yveline says

    Hi, I am just beginning the transitioning process and had some questions. Is it better to let your hair air dry after was when you first begin to transition? What are some good products to use in my hair?

    • lisa says

      Hi Yveline,

      I let my hair air dry a lot and if I did use the dryer I would sit under for no more than 20 min. on medium heat. Check the Products section above for products I used on my hair.

  17. Bankyy says

    Thanks.i love your site.i was almost going to cut my hair cos I have been battling with my for the past one year while trying to transition.can I invest on wigs now so I could have time to treat my hair instead of weaves or braids.also I would like to know your take on morrocan oil,some people say it contains silicone so it might not be good for the hair.also u made mention of applying oil to the scalp can clog the pores,so how am I to keep my scalp moist if it is dry and itchy.

    • lisa says

      If you want to use a lighter oil like olive or jojoba that’s fine. Just don’t use heavy grease that a lot of us grew up using on our scalps. My hair doesn’t respond negatively to cones. I use them on occasion so I don’t have a problem with morracan oil.

  18. Kim says

    Hey Lisa!

    I need your help desperately! I’ve been transitioning for about 6 months now, my hair has always been on the thin side with super fine strands but my new growth is growing in super dense and coarse. My hair tangles horribly both when wet and dry. Not only is my new growth hard to detangle, but my relaxed strands are hard to seperate. HELP!

    I’ve read that I shouldn’t detangle when wet because my hair is high porosity AND I’ve read that I shouldn’t detangle when dry because of my fine fragile sandy brown strands. I’m getting a lot of breakage and have now become afraid to attempt to detangle.. my hair is becoming matted and more of a tangled mess everyday. HELP!

    I feel like I”m doing everything I’m supposed to but nothing seems to be working! Thanks is advance for your response!!

    • NNew31 says

      Hi Kim. I know you posted this a few months ago, but I wanted to respond to your cry for help. Have you tried conditioner washing your hair? Tresseme Naturals is a good conditioner to use. Section your hair into atleast 4 sections. After the conditioner has sat for awhile in your hair, detangle with a wide tooth shower comb under the running water. Do this for each section. This should help quite a bit. Don’t forget to Deep Condition your hair weekly. Alternate between moisturizing and protein/strengthening treatments. Prior to styling your hair, make sure to use a good detangler with lots of slip. I like Kinky Curly Knot Today. You can also try the Kimmaytube mixture (2 tablespoons Kinky Curly, 2 tablespoons aloe vera juice 4.0 PH, 2 teaspoons castor oil, 2 teaspoons jojoba oil) This moisturizes and seals your hair at the same time. This should work wonders for your hair. Try protective styles like classy updos and buns. Try not to do any styles that leave your hair out because it tangles so easily. Good luck.

  19. dee says

    Hey Lisa,

    I am considering transitioning. When you moisturize daily, do you wash it out, even when you use castor oil?
    Also, is it ok to have weaves in when transitioning?

    • lisa says

      Hey Dee
      No I never wash it out. I don’t use a lot since it’s heavy. Actually I’ve been using jojoba oil instead. It’s much lighter. You can get a weave while transitioning, but be careful. Weaves often involve pulling the hairline so I would give you hair a break in between.

  20. Aaliyah says

    Hello . i cut all my hair off in december and it has grown because i put braids in it afterwards. i just re did my braids and finished on monday and im just wondering how long do i keep braids in as in like how many years ? should i wear them until my hair is a big puffy afro or what? Because im Not comfortable with my real hai , wearing it out since it’s a short lil’ afro right now, im just ready for it to grow all out so i can take care of it properly so it’ll grow properly. And um what kindof things are good for hair while braids are in ?

  21. Kotia Owens says

    Thank you for posting this site its very helpful and has helped me to make smart decisions when buying products for my hair. I recently made the decision to go natural I haven’t had a perm in a minute I don’t know the exact date. But my question was is it okay for me to use setting lotion on my hair when putting in straw sets and rollers and its not can you give me alternatives. Thank you so much, Kotia

    • lisa says

      Yes, I use Bronner Brothers Foam Wrap setting lotion because it has no alcohol. Most setting lotions contain alcohol and can be very drying to our hair.

    • lisa says

      Nu Gro. But I’m not so sure that helped much anymore. I think it was more that I just stopped relaxing which was causing the thinning in the first place. Before buying that try some castor oil and rub it into your edges at night.

  22. Bea says

    My last relaxer was August 2011 and I am excited about my transitioning process. One problem I have is finding a professional-looking, simple hairstyle for my transitioning hair. I can’t do hair for the life of me. My hair is medium length. Do you have any advice? Thanks in advance.

    • lisa says

      Hi Bea

      Have you tried rod sets? You can do them on very small rods and spiral them. Then to style it up, add a nice headband.

  23. bee says

    hello, my name is Bee & im 16 years old.. & i did the big chop. i was a little hesitated because , of course i don’t want to have “no hair” , especially during high school , but since i can do weave i just thought cutting my hair off was a good decision.. my hair was super thick but also damaged and i was transitioning since january, but i think my hair would grow soo much better if i just started over, any tipps? websiites that could help on what to do with my hair and how long i should leave the weave in my hair, etc. Thanks for your Help.

  24. sheila says

    ok so i ben transitioning for a while now and i just decided to cut my hair . i now have glued in tracks in my hair and when i take this out i cut more of my hair, mainly probably the rest off . i think that’s the best way for me since i can glue tracks in my hair . how long should i keep them in my hair and how can iwash my hair with it in..? and my real hair isn’t cornrolled its just down along with my tracks but will my hair stilll grow even if it’s not braided while i have weave in?

  25. mia says

    i have used a recipe similar to yours and ive been in transition for 10 months and a friend of mine said her mom said using things in her hair similar to your recipe made her hair come out………that didnt really make any sence to me so why would that have made her hair fall out? i’m going to try your recipe today though and im sure my hair wont fall out but doesnt it also depend on what hair type you have? it seems like i have type 4a/b . my hair is real thick

    • lisa says

      Hi Mia

      Too much protein can make your hair fall out. Some people’s hair may be more sensitive to protein than others.

  26. tameka says

    hi my name is tameka and i am wantin to go natural been a month since i have had a perm..i have dne bantu knot twist out to see what my hair wud look like if i go natural and everyone instantly thought i cut off my hair n went natural n loved how my hair was but my edges are thin and my hair as new growth that frizzez up realy bad i want to transition without cuttin my hair . wat kind ofproducts shud i use i have i think 1 inch andhalf of new growth what shud i do to my hair ..because im tired of twistout cuz my straight ends and my hair sheds..i cnt seem to find some to keep my hair from gettin dry and dull what shud i do..and what other styles can i style my hair with besides bantu knot twist out..HELP ME PLEASE

  27. chanta says

    since i am transitioning i wanted to know what are some good hair products that i can use. other than olive oil conditioner .. pantene shampoo and conditioner. iwash my hair every friday so today im thinking about putting egg & mayonaise in my hair for protein … ? would that be a good idea…?

    • lisa says

      Have you read this page about products I used?

      I pre-poo with egg, mayonnaise, honey and olive oil all the time. Here’s my recipe Here’s the recipe:

      1 egg

      2-3 tbsp of whole mayo (not light or miracle whip)

      2 tsp honey

      1 tsp olive oil (or oil of choice)

      I blend it with an egg beater and leave it on for an hour before shampooing. But only do this every 4-6 weeks. You don’t need to put that much protein in your hair.

  28. Resia says

    Hi Lisa,
    About a month and a half ago I decided to transition to natural hair because relaxers were really doing a number to my scalp, hairline, and wasn’t helping me with the dandruff problem I had since I was a little girl. The dandruff problem has really gotten better since I stopped relaxing. I heard that using tea tree oil helps with dandruff so I went out and bought some and added a couple of drops to my hot oil treatment about a week ago and ever since my hair has been coming out. I trim my ends myself and I tried your protein treatment today since today is my regular wash day and I seen just as much hair in the sink and in my detangling comb. What should I do. I do not have very much new growth so I am SO not ready to rock a baby fro. I am going crazy because I do not know what to do about this problem.

    • Resia says

      I understand that my hair will have some breakage but I been getting more than ten hairs when I wash. I pray you can give me some answers to my problem. :)

      • lisa says

        Hi Resia

        This must be frustrating for you. Have you tried deep conditioning your hair? Since I’m no professional and my tips have not worked for you, my advice is to seek professional help. I would ask around and get a recommendation for a stylist in your city who has experience dealing with natural and transitioning hair. Sounds like your hair is very fragile and you need to seek advice from someone who can help you get to the source of the problem. I wish I could be of more help, but I think your issue may be out of my realm of expertise and I don’t want to make your problem worse.

  29. bryasia says

    Okay, soo i havent had a perm since last week of january but during my transition i wasn’t very sure what to do to make my hair grow and i’ve read that heat was bad for the hair, so i just stopped straightening it but then my hair was looking rough but it was straight, (too me) . in july i got an edge perm just because i didnt know that i could straighten my hair during the transition. soo i guess you can say the middle part of my hair hasnt had a perm since january. and when i got that edge perm in july i also got it trimmed and my hair did grow. i noticed that my hair grows so much better without perms, and now perms are not even needed for me. my hair is also real thick so sometimes it takes a while to do my hair which can be annoying, but what are some great ways for my hair to get longer. my hair grows, but the back of my hair grows really slow sometimes, i guess because that part of my hair use to be damaged..? & ive also noticed that my hair doesnt break off as much as it used to when i had perms which is good!

    • lisa says

      Hair growth is primarily determined by your genes but can be improved by diet, drinking lots of water, daily scalp massages and exercise. Also make sure you keep your scalp clean and don’t oil it because that can clog your pores and prohibit growth. Aside from that, there are no products that speed up growth as many of them advertise.

      Almost everyone’s hair grows at different speeds. For example, the back of my hair grows fast and the crown grows slower. So my hair grows in layers. That’s perfectly normal to have different rates of growth on different parts of your head.

      Good luck!

  30. Takeisa says

    Hi Lisa,

    I just decided a few weeks ago that I would like to go natural. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my own hair in its natural state, so i’m really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful things I can do with my hair without the chemicals! What I am dreading however is this whole transitioning process!! I wish I had enough courage to just “chop-it” but unfortunately I don’t, so I will just do a gradual transition with the relaxed hair. I think the biggest concern I have is how do I find a way to make the new growth or natural hair soft and manageable during this process? I have really coarse, thick hair and the length is a little past my shoulders. Because of this, I have issues with my hair becoming tangled, making it difficult to comb through at times, even with relaxed hair. It’s been two months since I’ve had a relaxer however and I’m having a difficult time managing my hair with the little new growth that I have now….so I’m not really sure what to do, how to style it, what products to use, etc etc. Right now I’m just wearing my hair in a ponytail (which I know will cause extreme breakage once I further into the transition) and using Dr. Miracle products, which I like very much but not sure if they are appropriate to use for managing natural hair. I’m completely at a lost but I believe I can be found once I learn how to manage this process. If you can help, that would be so great. Thanks Lisa!

  31. bria says

    i havent had a perm since jan. and my hair has grown so much lately. I’ve been using Cholestoral hot oil treatments every week and then i would condition it like 3 times a month at least. I havent used a hot oild treatment yet, and i usually do them every sunday but now i think i should start doing them every two weeks. What do you think? And i should be getting my hair trimmed i know, but i don’t know anyone who could do it so iwas thinking about letting my hair grow out and real long and then get it trimmed/or cut a lil bit. Should i be getting it trimmed now? Or can i wait till it grows longer?

    • lisa says

      Hi Bria

      If you aren’t having any excessive breakage then every 3-4 months is probably enough. Also remember your hair may become more brittle as you continue to transition so the breakage may increase. There really is no set rule for trims, you just have to assess your hair’s health and determine based on that. I had to trim monthly because my ends were in such bad shape. So it really depends.

  32. Maya says

    Thanks so much for all this information. Even though I just got a relaxer 2 weeks ago, I’ve decided that would be my last – so I’ll call myself a beginning transitioner. My hair is a short bob and I just started wearing a wig everyday to work. It actually seems to be helping as I’m able to remove it nightly and moisturize and seal everyday. I’ll definitely be using your tips as the new growth comes in. But I was wondering what your thoughts were on wearing wigs during this process… at least until I develop a regimen/styling techniques etc that enables me to take care of my hair (new growth and relaxed ends) without causing much damage. Thank you in advance. It’s blogs like yours that give me the confidence that I can do this on my own.

    • lisa says

      I am all for wearing wigs. I even have a video here about it. This is a journey so whatever you need to do in the meantime to give yourself a break or to take time to learn what your hair likes, I’m all for! Wigs offer variety and it’s a great protective style. So yes, Ma! Do YOU and work those wigs! Good luck on your transition. Here’s the post on the wigs.

      • Maya says

        Thanks very much for the quick reply. That video was very helpful. Even though I’m still pretty freshly relaxed, I’m loving not having to manipulate my hair at all.. I can work out without worry, and I’m really excited to get on with my natural journey!!! Thanks for your encouragement. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • felgona says

      hello, am also a transitioner, i last relaxed my hair in october last year. have been putting on braids, using TCB treatment and nice and lovely leave in treatment. i dnt see any major hair loss. is that ok?

  33. lisa says

    Hi Wendy

    You can do it! I’m in my 12th month of the transition and things just get easier as I go along.

    I don’t do too many braid or twist outs but my hair loves Miss Jessie’s Buttercreme. Yes, their products are overpriced but I LOVE the combo of hold and moisture so it works well on twist outs for me.

    The key to a really defined/lasting twist or braid out is to use products that have a mixture of moisture and hold. I did a try twist out once and used water (light spritz), Garnier Fructis Leave in Conditioner (slight hold) and my shea butter mix for moisture. Good luck!

  34. wendy says

    hi lisa! i love all the suggestions you have. i just started my transition, i’m not doing the big chop so i will transition for a year or so. right now i’m wearing a roller wrap with flat iron to the roots. i know that eventually i will have to stop with so much heat. i was thinking about trying a dry braid out to see how it would look. what products would you suggest on a dry braid out?

    • lisa says

      With natural hair, some frizzing is inevitable so it gets harder to control as I continue to transition. But some things that help are:

      1) When shampooing and conditioning, do a cold final rinse or rinse with apple cider vinegar. I do both.

      2) Keep your hands out of your hair

      3) If you’re doing a roller/rod set, use setting lotion and a tiny bit of eco syler olive oil gel. You don’t want to use too much get because your hair will be hard

      4) Keep your hair deep conditioned. I try to do it once per week.

      5) Stay away from direct heat. Heat opens the cuticles and promotes dryness and frizziness.

      If you have very kinky hair, there is no way to eliminate it completely, but these tips will help.

  35. lisa says

    Good for you brianna! Hot oil treatments are good but you should also deep condition 3-4 times per month (or once/week). I use Organics Olive Oil Replenisher. It softens and strenghts my hair soooo much!

    As far as blow dryers go, I would minimize the use tremendously. I haven’t used one at all during my transition. But if you must, please use a heat protectant and try to use medium heat. If your hair is already a straighter texture then you shouldn’t need a lot of heat anyway.

    Remember as you continue to transition your hair strands will get weaker so all that heat is not good for it. You should limit any style or method that adds stress to the hair. Ponytails, heat, etc. should all be limited. If you wear a ponytail, put it in a clip instead of a band or use an elastic Goody headband and double it so you can make more of a “puff” instead of a tight ponytail.

    Good luck!

    • brianna says

      well thank you fr clearing that up for me. i have olive oil conditioner and is that a deep conditioner? and should i use a deep conditioner right after i do my hot oil treatment, because i do them once a week,starting last sunday.

  36. brianna says

    i’ve decided to just stop getting perms because all they do is burn my scalp and they make my hair look diff, but it doesn’t make my hair feel diff. My hair is already straight so i didn’t really know why i’m still getting perms, so i decided it would be better to just stop them. I haven’t had a perm since january and my hair is fine, still straight and managable & my hair is also short, but thick. I just started the Chloesterol hot oil treatment last sunday and i’m for now on is going to take a hot oil treatment every sunday & is there anything else i should be using?
    any specific conditioner?
    i also am doing the long-term transtitioner b/c im 16 and i dont want to do the big cut, i just rather have it cut when my hair grows the length i want it to.
    & is it really unsafe to blow dry my hair after i wash it when im done with the hot oil treatment/and is it unsafe to wear ponytails when the ponytail holder is rubber and no metal?

  37. lisa says

    Hi Stacy,

    I understand about the opinions, but it’s great that your BF is in your corner. Nothing better than having the ones who mean the most support you so that will help. Also try twists and roll the ends with the smallest rods you can buy at the store. You can wear a curly puff or just wear it down with the crinkles made by the twists. Hang in there! I promise that it does get easier as it goes along. I am almost 12 months post relaxer and never thought I’d make it this long without creamy crack!

  38. Stacy says

    I decided to go natural August of 2010 right after my sister’s wedding! Wow……this is hard. Every one has an opinion! Thank god my boyfriend is my greatest supporter. I wore a weave for 2 months, and then braids for 3 months. I was surprised at how much new growth I had! At least a good 3 inches. Since I’ve recently taken my braids out I really don’t have a clue. Am I afraid of my natural hair, I don’t have my usual confidence. Worst of all I think I’m using to many products and ruing the progress I have made. I was going to cover up my hair yet again with Kinky twist but I think I’m going to try again with the rod curls. Your blog has given me new hope!

  39. coming_thru2013 says

    Omgosh…i am so thankful that you have created this website. I feel like I am on the brink of failure with my transitioning. I decided to go natural last year. My last relaxer was August 25, 2010. I did a little research to find what would be best to use during this transition. I ran upon Design Essentials’ website. They offered a Seamless Transition package that included: Organic Cleanse Shampoo, Moisture Retention Shampoo, Express Moisturizing Conditioner, Anti-Breakage leave in, Silk Essentials Protectant, and a Glosser ( they didn’t call it a glosser, but said it should be used when styling) and I also purchased a Nutrient Creme Hairdress…all in all, this is not going good. 2 months in, I got a good trim that cleared out the dead ends of my relaxed hair…I am not comfortable with the BC. I haven’t set a deadline either. All I want is to make sure I’m doing what’s right for my hair. I wash my hair every week and use all of the above products. I flat iron every week and I am seriously getting tired of it. It is winter time and the air is extremely dry, and all of this “non-hair care” i’m doing is causing severe scalp dryness and horrific dandruff. I did not go full throttle research before starting my transition bc I was afraid of information overload. But now that may not be so bad. I am very interested in trying the protective styles like knot outs and braid outs. I think it would be a relief on me bc it wouldn’t involve me having to sit thru flat ironing every single week. Just trying to find some good products that will help keep my hair moisturized. Planning on getting another trim mid-February. Don’t want to show back up at my beautician with raggedy hair once again. Again, thank you thank you thank you for all this vital information and allowing me to vent my frustrations out on here. I am very interested in seeing what my natural hair is and embracing that part of my ethnicity. =)

  40. lisa says

    HI nice&natural

    I have very dry scalp so I suffer from this as well. I’ve found that adding a drop or three of tea tree oil to my shampoos really helps or use Giovanni’s Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (I think it’s called Tea Tree Triple Treat or something like that) Really massage your scalp well when you wash and see if that helps. I try not to oil my scalp much. I used to think that would help with dryness but it seems to add to build up and makes the itch worse. Also try upping your water intake. That will help too. Good luck!

    • nice&natural says

      Great- I have some Tea Tree Oil. I will try adding it to the Jane Carter SLS free shampoo that I’m already using. If this doesn’t work, I’ll move to the Giovanni.
      I appreciate your prompt reply…tomorrow is wash day :0)

  41. nice&natural says

    Hi Lisa,
    I love your site and so appreciate your detailed tutorials on transitioning. I’m on my second month of transitioning and am loving it. Last year, I cut my hair from shoulder length to a cute short pixie style before deciding to go natural, so hopefully the transition process will be short and sweet.
    I workout daily and sweat profusely when I do, so my question to you is: How can I go for a full week between shampoos without my scalp itching? I presently sport a straw set which is extremely easy and maintenance free. I use the natural oils daily and have cut out the SLS and alcohol products.
    Thanks so much for sharing this process with us. I could easily be a product junkie as well, so it helps so much to hear your reviews of what worked for you and what didn’t.
    Thanks so much!

  42. NewlyNappy says

    Hi I’m just now coming across your blog and I love it so far! I haven’t had a relaxer since april but decided to go natural in august so I’m really just getting started with managing it. Anyway my question to you is how do you maintain your rod sets over night? When I do mine it only lasts for that one day the next day I’m flat and nasty lol. P.S. I have 4c hair and before my hair was in a bob with a taper so my back is short and my front is long

    • lisa says

      Hi NewlyNappy,

      I sleep with a satin bonnet. My rod sets last 7 days. Do you use setting lotion? What kind of rollers do you use? If you use perm rods and some setting lotion then it should last. I used to have the same problem with my rod sets because I was using sponge rollers. But once I moved to perm rods they last. They would probably last beyond 7 days if it weren’t for me needing to wash my hair.

  43. lisa says

    Thanks for the link! Yes, just like you, my hair seems to be getting softer as I go through the transition. At first it seemed kinda hard and dry but since I’ve eliminated heat and been doing deep conditioning, the texture feels much healthier.

    But you are right, it’s really an individual decision and I can see the argument for both sides.

  44. says

    Hi, Lisa.

    Thank you for responding. :)

    I actually did a Google search with respect to the topic of combing vs. not combing transitioning hair on a daily basis. There appear to be differences of opinion on the subject, although most who are transitioning or have transitioned believe that one should *not* comb the hair on a daily basis. However, I think the process of transitioning is as individual as the person undergoing the process. While there may be givens, each person has to discover and do what is best for her. In fact, here is the link that I found on this blog:

    I actually did comb my hair for the second day in a row, and my new growth felt softer and more conditioned than it has felt since I began to transition. So, although I may not comb every day between shampoos, I am less inclined to wait until wash day to detangle my hair.

  45. says

    I like your blog, and the information you are sharing regarding your transitioning journey.

    I am, however, confused about something: Detangling hair on a daily basis. I have read that one should handle hair as little as possible during transitioning, and comb only on wash day. So, this is the first time I am reading that I should detangle from root to tip on a daily basis. Would you discuss this further?

    • lisa says

      I wrote this post 2 months ago and I was wearing my hair in a pin-up do that I would have to restyle daily. I found it easier to comb out daily because when I would wait till wash day it would just be sooooooooo tangled and I’d have so much breakage. So it was a personal choice that worked for me at the time.

      Two months later, it’s a totally different story. My hair seems healthier (I’ve trimmed over 2″ since this post) and doesn’t break as much. I’m wearing a rod set most of the time now so I only comb/detangle my hair right before I wash (once/per week).

      If you aren’t getting much breakage than I think it’s fine to comb out your hair (gently). But if your hair is breaking a lot then it is best to find styles that allow as little manipulation as possible.

      So perhaps I should add that disclaimer. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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